The peer review of Ollila (2016)

Climate skeptics occasionally publish papers in journals featured on Beall’s list of predatory journals. Various blogs will then proclaim the new addition to the peer-reviewed literature. And so it is with Ollila (2016), featured today on WUWT.

Since these papers are generally somewhat worse than awful, it’s tempting to wonder how little peer review $500 buys. Wonder no more: Physical Science International Journal, a ScienceDomain International journal, which published Ollila (2016) has an open peer review system.

Ollila (2016) had four reviews and three editors, so it should be thorough evaluation of the papers merits.

The second review is succinct:

1. The abstract is too long. It should be shortened.
2. Since the symbols, abbreviations and acronyms are given in the text, Table 1 should remove from the text.
3. The discussion must be given before Conclusion. The row must be changed.

 

The third is even shorter:

The paper discusses one dimensional dynamic model of volcano eruption (mount Pinatubo) in the context of global cooling. The paper can be accepted.

 

The fourth is longer (and in colour), but concerns only structuring.

Although, Manuscript is interesting and finds new results, but Authors are required to add / amend followings:
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Objectives and Symbols may be removed & Nomenclature be added after Abstract & Keywords
1.2 The Mount Pinatubo eruption it may be kept under 1.1 The Mount Pinatubo eruption
1.3 Earlier studies may be sub-titled Literature Study
Order of 4. Conclusion and 5. Discussion be changed as:
4. Results and Discussion
5. Conclusion

 

These three reviews are utterly useless. The reviewers, who are all named, failed in their job to critically evaluate Ollila (2016). They didn’t even try. The editors failed. To have one useless reviewer may be regarded as a misfortune; to have three looks like carelessness.

Fortunately, the first reviewer read and critically evaluated the manuscript and wrote a long and damning review. This reviewer’s second round review is also highly critical. I’ve read Ollila (2016) and I agree with reviewer one that this is a deeply flawed paper.

Despite this review, Ollila (2016) was published. Did the editors just do a vote count? One excoriating review vs. three useless reviews (and $500 publication fee)?

The first reviewer chose to remain anonymous. Alas, the journal is so utterly incompetent that it lists the reviewer’s institution on the front page of the paper. In case there was any doubt about the reviewer’s identity, the journal helpfully gives the first three letters of their name in the file name of the review. This is astoundingly incompetent.

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About richard telford

Ecologist with interests in quantitative methods and palaeoenvironments
This entry was posted in Peer reviewed literature, WUWT and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to The peer review of Ollila (2016)

  1. Marco says:

    Reminds me of this paper:
    http://www.lifescienceglobal.com/images/Journal_articles/JBASV8N1A10-Rivera.pdf
    (here’s hoping Watts picks it up, even though it is old)

    • “Statistical analysis of the number of destructive earthquakes versus global temperature and greenhouse gases revealed very significant correlations. The motion of the North Pole, deduced from the geomagnetic polar shift data, is highly correlated with major earthquakes.”

      Please tell me this is a spoof.

      • Marco says:

        I would really like to tell you that, but it most likely isn’t. The first author even presented it at a conference:
        http://www.cge.uevora.pt/GCGW/presentations/105-15-1-RV.pdf

        The acknowledgments in the actual paper have an, uhm, “interesting” addition:
        “The tilting of the earth on its axis by the Great Sumatra Quake and Tsunami of December 2004 was revealed in the 7th Secret of Emmitsburg (www.centeroftheimmaculateheart.org).”

        What I found most funny was that the whole climate-part was based on the supposed change in obliquity of the earth over the last century…as determined by the position of the geomagnetic north pole! A fail that even *I* could explain to high school students.

  2. Forgot to add, there is more discussion of Ollila’s publications in predatory journals at https://scholarlyoa.com/2016/02/18/finnish-man-uses-easy-open-access-journals-to-publish-junk-climate-science/

    • I like the photo caption: “Too long in the sauna?”
      I assume that’s a scandinavian insult 🙂

    • John Mashey says:

      Yes, Ollila came to my attention because he signed the “300 scientists” letter to help Lamar Smith harass NOAA. He signed as:
      “OLLILA, Antero V., Dr.Tech, Adj. Ass. Professor (Emeritus) Aalto University, nine
      peer-reviewed research papers on the climate change (FINLAND)”

      and there is much more discussion at that thread at scholarlyoa.
      he seems to be a retired industry/civil engineering guy who retired, then started cranking out climate anti-science in predatory journals (and one in E&E).

  3. Tim Osborn says:

    Another climate example of cursory ‘peer review’ at that journal: http://sciencedomain.org/review-history/8854

    • It seems to be a feature rather than a bug. If they had proper peer review, they might have to started rejecting papers and all those $500 fees would be lost.

    • John Mashey says:

      I think that article is by Albert Parker aka Alberto Boretti.
      Google albert parker alberto boretti

    • dikranmarsupial says:

      The review form looks like it was almost designed to discourage lengthy, detailed reviews.

      • Detailed reviews take time to read, and might cause papers to be rejected. With as APC of $50, the margins must be too thin to reject anything other than manuscripts written in crayon.

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  5. aveollila says:

    Yes, in the open peer review system the possible weaknesses are readily available. I admit that three of the reviewers gave only formal comments. The first reviewer was very detailed in his/her comments trying to turn every stone to find out reasons to reject the paper. It was very obvious what is the attitude of the reviewer based on this comment: “On line 175 the author(s) claim that prior researchers included a positive water vapor feedback. There really is no doubt about this.” In the section “Results and discussion” I have a summary showing that a former paper of Soden et al. (it is called a solid evidence about the positive water feedback) is based on the proper selection of flux changes not used by the other researchers. Soden et al. have used in a very “creative” way the humidity trends in order to turn upside down the trend. I am ready to give the paper of mine to any review process together with the paper of Soden et al. It would be interesting to see the results.
    Yes, I admit that I visit sauna three times a week. But you are wrong about the money. I did not pay $500 but only $50 from my own pockets. What we should think about those papers published with the fee of $2000 – $3000?
    My original profession is not a civil engineer. I used to be a process and automation engineer. You may say that I have no idea about the climatology. At least I know what is the water content of the average global atmosphere. Kiehl & Trenberth used the US Standard Atmosphere 76 in calculating the portion of CO2 in the GH phenomenon and getting the result of 26 %. Have you any idea what is wrong with this atmosphere?
    Dr. Antero Ollila

    • Peer review helps improve papers and gives them some credibility, and prevents the manifestly wrong papers from being published.

      The peer review of your paper was a sham; you were defrauded of your $50. (Whatever possessed you to believe that a journal could process a paper for only $50? Even PeerJ has and APC of $695, but yes, the legacy publisher’s fees of several thousand dollars are as absurd as their profit margins.) The editors should have discarded the three vacuous reviews and obtained fresh reviews. The publisher lies with the claim that their peer review is the “toughest”. You should have realised that the process was deeply flawed and withdrawn your manuscript. Sham peer review does not confer credibility on your paper – you should have saved your money and published at WUWT.

      The best you can hope for is that your paper is ignored, as you and the editors ignored the first reviewer. The paper is dreadful, it should never have been submitted, let alone published.

      The assumption that there is a positive water feedback in the climate models means that relative humidity (RH) should be constant despite the moderate warming/cooling of the atmosphere.

      Were you not able to find a reference to support your claim? Hardly surprising, since it is false. You assume the models assume that RH is constant; the models do not. Anybody who has ever worked with climate models would have been able to tell you that. The relatively constant RH is an emergent property of the models, not an assumption.

      Enjoy the löyly and use it to develop a better understanding of the importance of relative and absolute humidity.

      • John Mashey says:

        “The best you can hope for is that your paper is ignored”

        Scientists will certainly do so, but those of us who study pseudoscience, use of dubious journals, and silly disinformation petitions may not. Dr. Ollila is one of the 308 who signed a letter to help Lamar Smith attack NOAA, damage science and waste American tax money. He is on the record permanently as a member of a quite amazing group, as will be seen when I finish the report on it. He is not the only one to be using vanity journals or others with weak review.

  6. John Mashey says:

    I took a look at the peer reviewers for the two papers published by SCIENCEDOMAIN International, i.e., for Ollila(2015) and for Ollila(2016).

    Ollila(2015)
    Bharat Raj Singh, School of Management Sciences, Uttar Pradesh Technical University, India
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=pBWwqTIAAAAJ&hl=en
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Bharat+Raj+Singh

    Peter Stallinga University of the Algarve, Portugal
    http://www.stallinga.org/AcadActiv/AcademicActivityPS.html
    He is at Center for Electronics Opto-Electronics and Telecommunications, CEOT, labels Climate “a hobby” and rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.

    Robert Jandl Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW), Vienna, Austria
    http://www.oeaw.ac.at/wissenschaft-mitglieder/kommissionen/kommission-klima-und-luftqualitaet/r-jandl/
    He seems a credible and well-published scientist, but his review seemed cursory, consisting of a single sentence in the first stage, so the extent of review is unclear.

    Ollila(2016)
    As Dr Telford notes, the (semi-anonymous) first reviewer was knowledgable and very critical.
    The others were:
    Mahmut Dogru, Physics, Bitlis Eren University, Turkey
    http://www.bitliseren.edu.tr/medya/16.pdf
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=i41YS4EAAAAJ&hl=en
    He has published many papers on radioactivity and particle physics, none findable
    on climate science.

    S B Ota, Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, India
    This is a reserarch group within the Department of Atomic Energy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Physics,_Bhubaneswar
    Many publications in a SCIRP jorunal (predatory open access)
    http://www.scirp.org/journal/articles.aspx?searchCode=Institute+of+Physics%2C+Bhubaneswar%2C+India&searchField=affs&page=1 for example:
    http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperDownload.aspx?paperID=23865
    Observation of Vortex Lattice Related Anomalies in Polycrystalline YBa2Cu3O7−x near the Superconducting Transition

    Bharat Raj Singh, School of Management Sciences, Uttar Pradesh Technical University, India (again)
    https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=pBWwqTIAAAAJ&hl=en
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Bharat+Raj+Singh

    So, of 7 reviews across 2 papers for detailed climate science papers
    1 Anon – knowledgeable, very critical, in detail, but ignored.
    2 Jandl -plausibly knowldgeable, but cursory review, one sentence
    3, 4 Raj – Mechanical Engineering in Management Sciences
    5 Stallinga – electronics/optics, who considers climate change a hobby
    6 Dogu – physics (radioactivity)
    7. Ota – nuclear physics, materials

    I make no assertion on competence within their own fields for 3-7, but one has to ask why they are reviewing technical climate science papers.
    A perfectly valid response to a request for a review is “outside my field.”

    • I hadn’t realised that Ollila had published two papers with ScienceDomain. To have one paper published after sham peer review is unfortunate, to submit a second paper to the same publisher implies that Dr Ollila appreciates sham peer review. Perhaps even he is aware that is papers would not pass genuine peer review.

      • John Mashey says:

        Richard: if you review that discussion (and comments) at Scholarly Open Access, Dr Ollila has a handful of climate papers in various predatory open access journals, most of which seemed to have *less* review than Science Domain. The other paper appeared in Energy and Environment..

        As a group, these journals are somewhat different than those where folks like BJ Soden have often published,m i.e., Science, Nature, J Climate, JGR, GRL, etc.

  7. Eli Rabett says:

    Ever occur to some that the reviewers were in on the scam and perhaps renumerated?

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